The Lawrence Symphony Orchestra is one of the premier undergraduate orchestras in the country. Under the direction of Mark Dupere, the LSO gives approximately six concerts a year, performing standard orchestral works as well as opera, contemporary music, and new commissions. Guest conductors have included Robert Spano, Gunther Schuller, and Lowell Liebermann. All LSO concerts are webcast live from the Lawrence Memorial Chapel using our state-of-the-art four-camera digital system.
Conductor Mark Dupere is committed to leading rehearsals and performances that explore and strive for an active engagement with the music and the audience. The pursuit of excellent music making draws together threads from musicology, theory, history, score study, and also visual art, poetry, fiction, architecture, etc. Musicians of the LSO are encouraged to actively participate in the chamber music element of orchestral playing, and to engage with a larger understanding of the score and the work as a whole. With an energetic sense of community, students are urged to participate in the wonderful dialogue at the heart of the creative process.
Plans for Fall 2020:
Plans for instrumental large ensembles
(Symphonic Band, Wind Ensemble and LSO)
for fall term 2020.
Draft Thursday, July 23, 2020
While probably obvious, all plans for the fall term are to be considered contingent and flexible based on changing circumstances at the local, state and national levels.
One significant variable is the number of students returning to campus for in-person instruction, which in turn will determine available instrumentation. Ensemble composition and repertoire choices will therefore need to be somewhat fluid until after classes begin when there will be more certainty about available personnel.
With that disclaimer, what follows are latest thoughts on how SB, WE and LSO will function:
• Large ensembles will be offered for any and all students who feel safe with in-person instruction.
• Auditions will be held during the first week of classes (schedule TBA) instead of the weekend before. Students will perform materials selected by studio faculty and sight-reading.
• While the basic rehearsal structure and names of the three ensembles will remain the same for practical and administrative reasons, their functions will be slightly different. LSO will be strictly, or at least primarily, strings. Wind, brass and percussion students will be assigned to Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Band but all three ensembles will really function as umbrella organizations for a number of smaller ensembles contained within them (i.e. we will not be performing or rehearsing with 60+ musicians at a time)
• Expanding on the previous point, each ensemble will be broken up into several groups, each of which will consist of around fifteen people or so. The number of these ensembles is obviously contingent on the number of students on campus. In many ways each of the three ensembles will function somewhat like Wind Ensemble has, but with a cap on the number of people involved at any given time.
• One option, depending on numbers of returning students in a given studio, may be like-instrument ensembles. For example, one possibility being considered is for a saxophone ensemble that would rehearse during the Symphonic Band rehearsal time.
• Each individual student’s commitment to large ensemble rehearsals will be less than in a traditional term.
• Each group will give one concert this term, though the nature of that concert will be different as well. Instead of live performances in the Chapel, there will be either webcast-only live performances or pre-recorded performances that will be edited together for broadcast beginning on a particular night (similar to the commencement concert last spring.)
• For students who do not choose to be in an in-person ensemble, we will be working to create an online experience that, while not truly replicating the large ensemble experience, will address the issues and concerns of an ensemble musician. Topics may include but not be limited to audition preparation, sight-reading, non-verbal communication, error recovery, non-musical keys to success, etc.
As we move through the weeks ahead we will adjust plans to changing circumstances and communicate to students and faculty in a timely fashion.